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I was given a miracle... a second chance. And I was so afraid to lose it... that I lost sight of who our miracle was for...
―Alma explaining how her motives got derailed over time.

Alma Madrigal (often referred to as Abuela) is the deuteragonist of Disney's 2021 animated feature film Encanto. A woman who was blessed with a gift-granting Miracle Candle, Abuela is the matriarch of the Madrigals, the mother of Julieta, Pepa, and Bruno, and the grandmother of Isabela, Dolores, Luisa, Camilo, Mirabel, and Antonio. As the original source of its magic, Abuela also serves as the head of the enchanted village in which she and her family resides.

Background

Long ago, when my three babies had just been born, your Abuelo Pedro and I were forced to flee our home.
And though many joined us, hoping to find a new home... we could not escape the dangers... and your Abuelo was lost.
But in our darkest moment we were given a miracle, The Candle became a magical flame that could never go out and it blessed us with a refuge in which to live, a place of wonder.
―Alma, opening narration.
Alma Breaks Down

Alma breaks down after witnessing her husband's death.

At an undefined point in time in her past, Alma met a man named Pedro during a celebration for Day of the Little Candles in their village,[2] where they fell in love and eventually got married a short time later. Much to her delight, Alma got pregnant and one day gave birth to triplets Julieta, Pepa and Bruno. But on the very day of the triplets' birth, a conflict called the Thousand Days' War struck her town. Alma and Pedro were forced to leave her home with their family.[3] They escaped from their village along with some other citizens and left in search of a new home, but as they crossed through a river in the valley, the conquerors caught up with them. During the conflict that same day, Pedro said goodbye to Alma and sacrificed himself to the Soldiers who were chasing after the escaping villagers, allowing her and her children to escape but at the cost of her husband's life.[4][5] Having witnessed Pedro's death, Alma was heartbroken and unable to run when the conquistadors closed in on her. In her despair and pain, Alma prayed for a miracle and was immediately granted one. Magic was born from Alma's candle, and the magic created the Encanto where Alma and the rest of the citizens who escaped with her could live in peace. The miracle also vanquishing the invading army, created a mountain range to protect the Encanto, and also granted Alma a sentient house for her and her family to live in.

Losing everything in the span of one night, Alma never had time to properly process her pain and mourn as she had to raise her infant children alone and lead the refugees from her village. The responsibility that was imposed on her as guardian of the miracle made her a hardened woman and since the day she lost her husband she has been afraid of losing her home and family again. When Alma's children turned five, they each got their own unique magical gifts accompanied with their new room. Alma had her family use their magic to help the community as a way of paying back the miracle, believing that proving themselves worthy of the magic they were given would preserve it. Over time, Alma's relationship with her son would be become strenuous due the problems of his gift of foresight. Eventually, her daughters fell in love and married. Pepa met a man named Félix with a cheerful personality with whom Alma got along with from the beginning and quickly accepted him as part of the family while Julieta met a man named Agustín, whom her mother was skeptical that would fall in love with Julieta since he was probably not Alma's first choice to marry her daughter, but Julieta loved Agustín so much that they eventually got married and he became part of the family.[6] To her surprise and delight, over the years Alma's daughters had children of their own, who would also receive gifts as their mothers and uncle had, and she became the grandmother of Isabela, Dolores, Luisa, Camilo, Mirabel, and Antonio, who all refer her as Abuela.

When it came time for Mirabel's ceremony, she reached for her door and touched the door knob, instead of getting a magical gift and opening the way to her new room like her sisters and cousins, Mirabel didn't get a gift and the door disappeared. Alma, fearful for the family's magic, asked Bruno to look into the future to see what this meant, as no Madrigal child had ever been denied a gift before. However, Bruno would never tell Alma about what he saw and disappeared without saying anything. Alma never knew why her son abandoned the family, blaming Mirabel for Bruno's disappearance and pushing her away. Fearful that Mirabel's lack of a gift meant the family had not proven themselves worthy of the miracle, Alma increased the family's efforts to serve the community. Although she meant well, Alma inadvertently put too much pressure on her family. As a result, her relationship with her daughters became strained due to their constant disagreements while some of her grandchildren grew up with some emotional trauma trying to fulfill her expectations and desires.

Official Description

Though she may have been alone, Abuela Alma's unwavering faith would create the magical encanto where the Madrigals call home. As the family matriarch, Abuela Alma's steely strength and single-minded determination to protect her family haven't wavered in 50 years since she lost her husband.[7]
Alma is the matriarch of the Madrigal family. Her steadfast determination and unwavering hope led her to the magical Encanto, where she raised triplets Julieta, Pepa, and Bruno. To her surprise and delight, each of her children was blessed with a magical gift upon their 5th birthday, and the tradition continued with each of their children, except for Mirabel. Abuela values the gifts given to each of her family members, ensuring that they are used to benefit and protect their community, and to honor the sacrifice of Abuelo Pedro.[8]

Development

As with the rest of the Madrigal family, Alma was designed to reflect "family archetypes that are immediately relatable".[9] The studio was initially going to make Agustín as the patriarch of the family, but this was changed due to a field guide on Colombia telling the studio that the local communities are matriarchal, which led to the creation of Alma as the matriarch. During the creation process, Alma originally had hair that transformed into a river that flowed for miles, and the family would have had to follow it in order to connect to her emotionally, but this was discarded as it didn't fit the story correctly. She originated from the beginning as a severe and complicated person, someone that has to always look out for the well-being of her family and the town, with a painful connection to the past. To create her appearance, Alma's costume design and color palette had to feel much more subdued than the other characters in order to represent her stern and rigid personality.[10]

María Cecilia Botero, Alma's voice actor, describes her character: "Abuela doesn't have a gift. She's the one… that keeps the family together… I think I am, too, in my family. So it was kind of myself."[11]

Personality

Encanto-animationscreencaps

Alma being more affectionate with Isabela than with any of her other grandchildren.

As the matriarch of the Madrigal Family, Alma is dedicated to doing what in her eyes is best for her family and initially hoists expectations on her children and grandchildren in how they use their gifts to help the community, often taking the form of a demand for perfection. Due to her desire for perfectionism, Alma has a certain favoritism towards some members of her family without realizing the damage and insecurity it causes to other members of the family. Out of all her grandchildren, she favors her oldest granddaughter and golden child Isabela; this doting placing a lot of pressure on her while concurrently making her sisters and cousins feel inadequate living in her shadow, causing mutual resentment between her and some of them. As far as sons-in-law go, Alma preferred Félix over Agustín, due to not approving of the latter nor in him marrying Julieta, partly because she judged him harshly for his clumsiness and unwillingness to understand why her daughter chose him. Alma's expectations and desires for perfection also extended to her own children, keeping a tight grip on the to make them perfect. Unintentionally, Alma is quite neglectful with Pepa due to the problems of her gift. Alma not only ignores her when she needs help, she also often negatively criticizes her daughter for her emotional tirades and often pesters Pepa to keep her emotions under control instead of supporting her properly.

Encanto - Alma praying for a miracle

Alma having a rare moment of vulnerability and weakness.

Alma tries to be patient and understanding, but from her point of view, she feels some should just step aside and do nothing without her express approval. As a result, she is very controlling and denies there is anything wrong, assuring her neighbors that all is well and that there is nothing to fear, even when Casa Madrigal is cracking all around her and the townspeople are nervous. But the truth is, Alma knows that her home and perhaps even her family is in danger, as she privately revealed to herself, as Alma spoke as though she were speaking with her late husband, Pedro, revealing that Alma is afraid for her home, her family, and losing everything as they did before, and she cannot bear to go through that again, and she prays to her Pedro to help her. This displays Alma's vulnerability that she is too afraid to reveal even to her family and that Alma feels the burden of trying to preserve her family, her community and their miracle and their Encanto, and explains why she does everything she can to protect them. Unfortunately, this fear of losing everything again, often causes her to assume the worst in a situation or even in others, including her own family.[12] Alma would particularly doubt her only son, Bruno, since his often negative visions that tended to cause trouble lead her to believe he didn't care about their family after he left, and her granddaughter, Mirabel, as being the only member without a gift made Alma look down on her and exclude her from family activities at best or, upon seeing Bruno's vision, fear her destroying the magic at worst.

Alma shocked by Mirabel's words

Alma shocked when Mirabel points to her as the true cause of the miracle dying.

When she sees how her expectations of her family are unraveling because of Mirabel, Alma, misinterpreting her attempts to help as jeopardizing the magic according to Bruno's vision, jumps to conclusions without hearing her out and unfairly blames her for everything, accusing her of hurting the family out of jealousy for not being given a gift. Alma further lashes out at Mirabel as she reveals she blames her for Bruno's disappearance, as well as getting angry when Isabela tarnishing her perfect image by being herself, ruining her engagement with Mariano, and Luisa begins to lose her super strength, showing that Alma views them no different from the way she views Mirabel. Finally fed up with this treatment, Mirabel angrily snaps at Alma and stands up for the family, stating that no matter how hard any of them tries, magic or not, none of them will ever be good enough for her or her expectations, and that Bruno actually left because she only saw the worst in him. When Mirabel goes as far as to say that Alma is causing the miracle to fade, the older woman, initially denying this, can only be silent and shocked at these words before the Casita collapses as a result of their heated argument. Taking in the destruction of their home, Mirabel's words, and half of her grandchildren putting themselves in danger to save the candle would cause Alma to realize the pressure and even unintentional misery she had been subjecting her family to.

Encanto - Traumatized Young Alma

Broken from having lost so much, Alma abandons her former joy and hope.

In a sincere heart-to-heart with Mirabel by the river where her husband perished, Alma reveals more insight in their family beginnings. In the memories of her youth, Alma was once a cheerful young woman full of life who, after falling in love with Pedro, had hopes for a better future. But when her husband sacrificed his life to buy time for his family, friends, and neighbors to escape from the marauders who were after them after having to leave their home, Alma was left devastated and broken. Losing the love of her life, her home, and everything she knew and loved in the span of a night traumatized Alma so much that she swore it would never happen again, determined to preserve what had given them a fresh start. But over time, she lost sight of what truly mattered, unconsciously and ironically taking their miracle for granted, and forgot who it was for, and what made their family so special was not the magic but the fact that, in spite of tragedy, they are a family. It was because of this, that Alma was constantly looking outwards for a problem or even a threat similar to the soldiers to all she held dear, that she never thought to look inward until it was too late, which is when she finally realized her family had been broken because of her and why she never considered that her well-intentioned actions were the problem.

Alma apologizing to Julieta and Pepa

After realizing her mistakes, Alma sincerely and lovingly apologizes to her family.

Now understanding the pain and loss Alma had never fully healed from, along with the burden she had long carried, Mirabel assures her that it is because of her that they were saved, that they were granted a miracle, that they are a family and nothing is so broken that they could not fix together. Touched by these words, Alma finally realizes, after asking Pedro for help, that Mirabel was the answer to her prayers and they reconcile. Immediately following this, Alma also reconciles with her lost son when he suddenly appeared to confront her after a decade before she warmly hugs and kisses him while calling him "Brunito", happy to have him back despite previously having a low opinion of him for leaving their family. Alma then becomes a happier and warmer person than she was before, freeing herself from her dark past. The first thing Alma does after realizing her past mistakes and returning to the ruins of the Casita, is to affectionately treat her daughters before bringing Bruno back into the family. Alma reconciles with the rest of her family, apologizing for how she held on too tight out of fear she would lose them all as well, but now understands that they alone are the true miracle, not the gift of magic itself. She also happily works alongside her family and community as they rebuild the Casita, helping to strengthen the bonds of the family to become stronger than ever and causing the magic to be restored later in the Encanto.

Physical appearance

Alma Madrigal Age Difference

Alma as an old lady (left side) and Alma as a young woman (right side).

Abuela Alma is a 75-year-old elderly woman with grey hair with streaks of black in it. She has brown eyes and very few wrinkles. She wears a long maroon/magenta dress with butterflies (symbolizing the moment the Encanto was created) and streaks embroidered on it and mountain designs at the bottom of he dress, orange teardrop-shaped circles on her collar, and flower-like symbols on certain parts of her clothing like ones that appear slightly above her elbows (which all represent the candle), a chatelaine belt with a key and two pocket watches, and black high heels. Alma also has small pearl earrings, which almost show a slight glint of her younger happier self. She initially wore a dark black mourning shawl on special occasions, like a Madrigal child's gift ceremony or Isabela's proposal dinner, but stopped wearing it after making peace with her past.

When Alma was younger, she was slightly taller with a slim build and had a more smiley and cheerful appearance, complete with dark brown middle swept bangs and her hair braided on both sides with red bows tying the ends of both braids which are both over the front of her shoulders. She also has a white shirt with flowers and a frilly white collar that all the Madrigal women excluding Julieta have, with an ankle indigo-blue skirt with black shoes. During the escape from her village, she wore a magenta shawl.

Powers and abilities

Abuela Alma doesn't possess any particular gift, due to being the one who found the miracle that blessed the Madrigal family in the first place. Instead, she is in charge of all magic of the family. She takes care of the magical candle that gives the family their magical gifts, although she herself has no individual gift, as she merely makes sure the family magic is used carefully. Becoming the leader of the Encanto since she was very young, Alma has leadership skills as she leads an entire village by herself and directs most of the activities that occur in the Encanto such as the construction of various houses or different events. Being the person with the most authority in the Encanto, her family and the entire town of Encanto, turn to her in moments of uncertainty and communal anxiety. Like Mirabel, she also has a stronger affinity with the Casita than most of her family; Alma communicates with the house like it is a real person, and Casita responds to her prompts.

Appearances

Encanto

Encanto - Alma and Lili

Alma helping and working alongside the townspeople.

Alma first appears telling a five-year-old Mirabel the story of how their family was blessed with magic and how the Miracle Candle will grant her a magical gift during her birthday. When it comes time for her granddaughter's gift ceremony, she asks Alma what she thinks her gift will be, to which Alma responds that Mirabel is a wonder and whatever gift she gets will be just as special as her. In the present, Alma is introduced leaving her room happy that it is her youngest grandson Antonio's fifth birthday, and he's expected to get his magical gift by the end of the day. Before going to town, she helps Antonio with his gift ceremony outfit for the special day. In "The Family Madrigal", while she helps with the construction of a house, Alma says with faith that The Madrigals swore to help those around them for earn the miracle that blessed their family and keep the miracle burning in each new generation. Alma also gives Isabela a kiss on the cheek and watching with pride as her oldest granddaughter grows different roses in town.

Mirabel and Alma

Alma prevents Mirabel from helping at Antonio's ceremony.

She finally returned to Casa Madrigal and tells the family that it's time to get ready for Antonio's ceremony. When Mirabel was finishing telling the kids in town about the family, Alma visibly confused at the Casita's entrance, asked her what she was doing. Mirabel explains she was telling the Town Kids about the family, and when Alejandra says the Mirabel was about to tell them about her gift, Alma walks away awkwardly after Dolores tells the kids that Mirabel didn't get one. While preparing Antonio's gift ceremony, Alma saw her grandson Camilo leaning lazily against a banister and instructed him to help a townsperson named Jose with a banner over Antonio's door and she also tells Luisa to put the piano on the upper floor of the house. She can later be heard telling her family to clean their rooms saying that she didn't care how big they were. Alma catches Mirabel trying to decorate the outside of the rooms in the house, and although she acknowledges that Mirabel wants to help, she tells her that the best way for Mirabel to help would be to step aside and let the other members of the family do what they do best, much to her frustration.

Alma happy that Antonio has a gift

Alma announces during the ceremony that Antonio received a magical gift.

Suddenly a nervous Pepa appears walking through the hallways of the house and Alma alerts her that she has a cloud hanging over her head, but her daughter responds angrily that she can't find Antonio. As their conversation is over, Alma runs into Julieta on the stairs, who tells her to be nice to Mirabel because she knows Antonio's gift ceremony was going to be difficult because Mirabel's own gift ceremony didn't turn out well. Alma tells her that if Antonio's gift ceremony doesn't go well, it's going to be a difficult night for everyone. During the ceremony, Alma gives a brief speech about how the people of the Encanto were blessed in their time of greatest need with a miracle that blessed the Madrigal Family with a Miracle Candle, happy that it is Antonio's turn to receive his magical gift and she goes up the stairs to wait for him next to his new door. When her grandson approaches her and touches the candle, Alma asks him if he will use his gift to strengthen the community. He nods his head and approaches his door, and Alma waits with bated breath as Antonio reaches for his door knob. Antonio successfully receives a gift much Alma's relief as she announces to the crowd that the family has a new gift.

The Happy Madrigals by Antonio (2)

Alma congratulating Antonio on receiving his new gift.

She along with the rest of the family and the townspeople are amazed as Antonio's room turns out to be a rainforest and he has fun with his new animal friends. After he rode his new jaguar, Alma proudly approaches Antonio to congratulate him for receiving a power as special as him, gathering the entire family, except Mirabel, in joy for a family photo. During the celebration party, Alma happily watches Antonio having fun and she dances with Félix for a few moments. While everyone celebrates, Alma is shocked when Mirabel runs into the room announcing that the Casita was in danger. Alma wants Mirabel to show her, and she led everyone outside to show them that the house was cracking, however the cracks suddenly disappeared. Mirabel tried explaining to Alma what she saw, and Alma cuts her off and announces to everyone that the magic was strong and so were the drinks, and everyone goes back to celebrating. Later that night however, Alma talks to a picture of her deceased husband Pedro while looking out of her window. She expresses concern about the state of the magic and concern for what will happen to the home.

Alma congratulating Isabela

Alma happy at the idea of Mariano and Isabela's proposal that same night.

The following morning, Alma gathers everyone around for breakfast, and states that they are all grateful for Antonio's new gift. As she sits down she nearly sits on Antonio's animals. Antonio tells Alma that he asked them to warm up her seat, and she thanks him and she shoos the animals away saying that she's sure they can find a way to put his blessings to good use. While Alma continues talking, Mirabel starts shouting, and Alma has Casita move Mirabel's seat from next to Luisa, to next to her. Alma tells everyone that they can't take the miracle for granted and that they will work twice as hard. When Mirabel tries getting up from her seat, Alma tells her to stop and has the Casita push the chair back in. Alma announces that she spoke to the Guzmáns about Mariano's proposal to Isabela and asks her granddaughter Dolores for a date on the proposal. Alma's very happy when Dolores says that Mariano was planning on proposing that same night and that he wanted five children, which makes Isabela sprout nervous flowers on her head. While removing an imperfect flower from Isabela's head, Alma comments that the pair would bring a new generation of "magical blessings" and make both families stronger. Alma then proceeded to tell the family that the community was counting on them before dismissing everyone from the table.

Encanto - Alma looking at the Miracle Candle

Alma looking at the Miracle Candle when acting strange.

In "Surface Pressure", Luisa reveals that she is under constant stress of meeting others' expectations of her and expresses her fears of not carrying the pressure despite being super strong, at one point she is on the tightrope carrying weights with a magneta background, the color of Alma's clothes. Later that morning, Alma and Isabela are walking hand-in-hand as Alma tells Isabela that she believes her and Mariano are a perfect match, unaware of Isabela's discomfort at the proposal. As Mirabel finds different pieces of a Bruno's vision, Alma cleans different flower petals in the halls of the house before turning to look at the miracle candle as it acts strangely. Sometime after that, when Mirabel emerges from Bruno's room after having found pieces of his vision, Alma wants to know where she was coming from in a hurry. Before Mirabel could say anything, Luisa comes into the house and frantically yells at Alma that she was losing her gift. During her explanation, Luisa mentions to Alma how she and Mirabel talked about how she carried too much but when she tried to return to her duties she realized that her powers disappeared.

Alma happy with the union between Isabela and Mariano

Alma happy with the union between Isabela and Mariano.

When her granddaughter runs away crying, instead of following Luisa to comfort her, a concerned Alma asks Mirabel what exactly did she say to Luisa, but she denies having said anything. Before leaving the Casa Madrigal, she looks at her pocket watch to realize that the marriage proposal dinner is about to begin. Alma mentions to Mirabel that she has to go get the Guzmáns for Mariano and Isabela's engagement and instructs her to stay away from Luisa until she can talk to her because they can't have any more problems, telling Mirabel to stop doing whatever she's doing. In "We Don't Talk About Bruno", when most of the Madrigals are setting the table for dinner, Alma was escorting Señora Guzmán and Mariano to the Casita while announcing Mariano's arrival. When the Guzmáns arrive at the house, Alma announces to everyone that it's time to eat dinner. Before everyone eats, Alma comments that the union between the Guzmáns and The Madrigals will be very good for the Encanto. Señora Guzmán makes a joke about hoping that the night goes well and that it doesn't turn out to be a horrible disaster, making Alma toast to a perfect night.

Alma looking at Bruno's vision

Alma discovering Bruno's vision about the miracle's death and the Casita.

As the night progresses, without Alma noticing, her family members learn of Bruno's vision of the imminent destruction of the Casa Madrigal and death of the miracle. Alma tries to keep Señora Guzmán happy when some family members start to freak out due to the vision, such as Dolores acting strange, Camilo erratically shapeshifting before his face distorts and his eyes look in different directions before he fixes it, Félix spitting out his water on Mariano and Pepa creating a storm cloud, which Alma tries to tell her to get rid of. Alma watches as Mariano tries to propose to Isabela before everything starts to go wrong, from Luisa crying over the loss of her super strength to Dolores screaming that everyone is doomed. The dinner begins to get out of hand with the spread of Bruno‘s vision about the magic fading and Pepa begins to form a storm cloud. When Mirabel, while trying to grab the vision that Antonio's animals had assembled, accidentally slides it to Alma and is horrified by what she sees. Due to Pepa's storm clouds, it finally starts to rain, drenching everyone present and opening the doors of the Casita to reveal the townspeople watching as the proposal dinner had been ruined, much to Alma's chagrin.

Alma arguing with Julieta and Agustín

Alma worried about the Casa Madrigal and the miracle.

When everyone leaves the dining room, Alma chases after Señora Guzmán and Mariano to try to get them to stay. The townspeople see the Guzmans running out of the Casa Madrigal and are scared when several cracks begin to appear around the house representing that the miracle is disappearing, with Alma proclaiming that they are the Madrigals and that the magic is strong so everything will be well, before slamming the door shut and angrily shouts for Mirabel. Later the failed dinner, Alma reprimands Agustín for keeping Bruno's vision to himself, saying that he should've thought of the family and told her as soon as he saw it. Agustín, however, angrily shoots back that he was thinking of his daughter. Before she can say anything, Alma notices that Pepa is creating a mini snowfall and tells her to calm down, which her daughter fiercely responds she's trying her best, with Felix backing her, and she's just fortunate that she isn't creating a hurricane. Julieta tells Alma that she's always been too hard on Mirabel, but Alma ignores her, telling them they must protect their home, going on to say that they cannot lose their home. When the townspeople come to the Casita telling her that people are worried about the magic, Alma goes into town, but before she leaves, she tells her family that they need to find Mirabel because she was in Bruno's vision for a reason.

Alma, Señora Guzmán and Mariano (2)

Alma watches Isabela growing different plants while trying to talk to the Guzman family.

In town, Alma stops by the Guzmáns' house and tries to make amends for the ruined proposal dinner and save the engagement. However, during "What Else Can I Do?", while Isabela is growing a series of exotic plants and expressing her true self, she accidentally breaks Mariano's nose a second time. While Señora Guzman is concerned for Mariano's well-being, Alma is shocked by the chaos Isabela is causing at the Encanto. When she returns home, Alma is visibly angry and demands to know what is going on. While Isabela is frightened by her presence, Mirabel, quite excited, tries to tell Alma that she knew how to save the miracle. Mirabel tries to tell Alma that Isabela wasn't happy, and Alma says it's clear that Isabela's unhappy because Mirabel ruined her proposal. Alma gets increasingly more agitated as Mirabel tries to explain what she had been doing and how she was going to save the miracle, but Alma cuts her off and tells her that she needs to stop. As Isabela, Luisa, Julieta, Agustín and later the rest of the family watch from a distance, Alma berates Mirabel and proceeds to blame her for all the family's problems, such as the house cracking, Bruno leaving, Luisa losing her powers and Isabela being out of control. She tells Mirabel that while it's not understood why she wasn't given a gift, it wasn't an excuse for her to hurt the family.

Mirabel reaches her breaking point

Alma arguing with Mirabel as she proceeds to blame her for the family's problems.

Mirabel, after a moment of hurt and fed up with this treatment, tells Alma that she will never be good enough for her, no matter how hard she tries. When Mirabel looks at her sisters, she realizes that no one will ever be good enough for Alma and defends Luisa and Isabela by saying they will never be strong enough or perfect enough. Reaching her breaking point, she states what really drove Bruno was that Alma only saw the worst in him, but Alma responds that Bruno didn't care about the family. Mirabel insisted everybody loves the family, accusing Alma as both the one who didn't care and breaking their home. Angered by her granddaughter's words, enraged Alma began to raise her voice. But before she can contradict her, Mirabel points to her as the true cause of the miracle dying, which causes Alma to become horrified and shocked, realizing that she is right. The heated argument creates a fissure that splits one of the nearby mountains of the range that protects the Encanto, causing the ground beneath them starts cracking and the Casa Madrigal starts falling apart as the candle starts fading fast. As Pepa and Félix scream in horror as they realize the Miracle Candle is in danger, Alma can only watch helplessly as the candle begins to go out as half of her grandchildren risk their lives to save the miracle.

Encanto- Heartbroken Alma

Alma heartbroken to see how her ideals tore her family apart.

As the Casa Madrigal starts collapsing more and more, everybody except for Mirabel is thrown out and Alma is caught by Luisa before she hits the ground. After the Casita is destroyed and the Miracle Candle dies along with the magic, while Camilo and Antonio mourn the loss of their home and the adults make sure their children are safe, Alma is shocked by the destruction of the house to the point of that she has to be cared for by Dolores, who sits her on a small piece of debris to calm her down. When her daughter Julieta noticed Mirabel went missing, the family spread out to search for her. The next morning, Alma finds a tearful Mirabel in the valley, sitting next to the river that she and Pedro had crossed while escaping from The Soldiers fifty years earlier. While releasing stress, Mirabel apologizes and says that she never wanted to hurt the family, she just wanted to prove herself that she's worthy, even though she doesn't have a gift. Seeing how saddened Mirabel was, Alma sat down next to her and told her that she never thought she would be able to return to the river, since it's where Pedro died and where they were given the miracle.

Encanto Young Alma & Pedro (7)

Alma remembering the happy moments of her life with Pedro before everything changed.

During the "Dos Oruguitas" sequence, Alma reveals more about her past, how she made a life with Pedro and the full origin of the miracle. She then explains that she thought that she and Pedro would have a different life together and she would be a different person. Gaining a miracle through her husband's sacrifice, a second chance that she was so afraid to lose that she ultimately lost sight of the people their miracle was for⁏ the family. Alma apologizes to Mirabel and tells her that she never hurt their family, realizing their fractured state is because her heart never healed from the trauma she went through. Mirabel takes Alma's hands in hers and acknowledges the loss and sorrow that Alma experienced as a young woman, and understands that Alma didn't want it to happen again. She proceeds to tell Alma that they were saved because of her, they were a family because of her and they were given a miracle because of her, and then assured her that nothing is so broken that they cannot fix together. Touched by Mirabel's words, Alma tells her that she asked Pedro for help and he sent her Mirabel and the two of them reconcile and hug after ten years since Mirabel's failed ceremony while butterflies flies around them.

Alma hugging Bruno

Alma runs to hug Bruno, showing that she still loves him after his disappearance.

Just as they finish their embrace and emerge from the river, Bruno comes riding in on a horse, confronting Alma after years of hiding. As he rambles before simply saying all Mirabel wanted to do was help, Alma is shocked when she sees Bruno after ten years. As Bruno continues talking and prepares to argue with her, Alma rushes to her son and gives him a hug, much to his confusion. She gives him a kiss on the cheek and grabs his hand and pulls him onto the horse and all three of them ride on horseback to the Encanto. When they get back to the Encanto and reunite with the rest of the family in the ruins of the Casita, during "All of You" Alma walks up to her surprised daughters and treats them lovingly while apologizing for holding onto the magic too tight, fearing she would lose them too after losing Pedro, and says the miracle isn't magic they possess, rather simply themselves, as she guides a timid Bruno to rejoin the family when he is afraid to do so. Alma watches with joy as the triplets are reunited after a decade and as some of her grandchildren are confused or happy by Bruno's presence.

Alma apologizing to her family

Alma apologize with her family for the mistakes she made.

With the family all together, everyone came together to fix the Casa Madrigal and the entire town also pitched in as thanks for all the Madrigals had done for them, including Mariano and Señora Guzman, much to Alma's delight. When helping to rebuild the Casita, Alma can be seen working on some blueprints for the house alongside Mirabel and Camilo. After completing the house, Alma guided Mirabel to Casita's entrance to add a doorknob the family made just for her to the front door, which to her surprise, causing a new source of magic to be born that brings Casita back to life and returning the gifts of the Madrigals, but also making a new front door with all the Madrigals carved into it, including those who married into the family, Félix and Agustín. As they enter the house, Alma happily watches as her family members recover their powers and begin to be themselves. The Madrigals then celebrated the returned of their home and gifts with a family picture. As they posed for the photo and everyone shouting "La Familia Madrigal", Casita unexpectedly crushed the entire family, creating an imperfect family image.

Once Upon a Studio

Alma returns alongside her family at the Disney Animation Studio for a group photo with all the characters from the previous films to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the studio and The Walt Disney Company's founding in 1923 by Walter Elias Disney and his brother Roy Oliver Disney.

When Goofy accidentally breaks the camera, Alma, Isabela, and many of their cohorts sadly prepare to go back inside the animation building until they hear Alan-A-Dale playing "When You Wish Upon a Star". This lifts Alma and everyone else's spirits where they sing the song together and successfully take the group photo.

Relationships

Wiki
The Disney Wiki has an article focusing on the relationships of Alma Madrigal.

Gallery

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The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Alma Madrigal.

Trivia

  • Early in production, other options for the character's name were Andrea and Alba.[13][14]
  • The name "Alma" means "soul" or "spirit" in Spanish and Portuguese, likely referring to how Alma is the soul of the family and the one who keeps them together.
    • Abuela means "grandmother" in Spanish.
    • The name Alma recalls the Catholic concept of the Anima Sola (lonely soul) in Latin Culture. When Mirabel and Alma reconcile, she explicitly recognizes that Alma bore the sorrow of the loss of her home and her husband alone for fifty years.
    • "Alma" (soul) is also related in classical mythology with butterfly wings. Butterflies are the animal totem of the Madrigal family.
  • A deleted scene during "The Family Madrigal" reveals that Alma was originally going to give birth to the triplets in the river while she and the townspeople in her previous village were escaping from the soldiers, meaning the triplets would've been born at the same moment Pedro was murdered.[15][16] Abuela's original entry in "All of You" would also show her consoling her children over the loss of their father.[17]
    • The melody and tune heard when Alma sings during "The Family Madrigal" is the same as "Dos Oruguitas". This detail was intentional as Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote "Dos Oruguitas" after he had already written "The Family Madrigal" and then worked it back into the song, as well as using it as a subtle foreshadowing that Alma was still trapped in her dark past.[18]
  • Her singing voice actress, Olga Merediz, came to work in the 2021 Warner Bros. live-action movie adaptation of In the Heights with Lin-Manuel Miranda, where Merediz played the character of Abuela Claudia. Conversely, Miranda himself wrote the songs for Encanto with In the Heights (also featuring Miranda's contribution to the film based on the musical) being released the same year as Encanto.
    • Abuela Claudia and Alma are both matriarchs of their communities (Encanto, Washington Heights), both have Latin American roots (Colombian, Cuban) and both learned patience and faith.
    • Olga Merediz and Stephanie Beatriz and Lin-Manuel Miranda both featured in Brooklyn 99 as Julia Diaz, Mother of Rosa Diaz and Lin portrayed David Santiago.
    • By In the Heights movie: Olga Merediz portrayed Abuela Claudia Stephanie Beatriz portrayed Carla the Salon Lady. and Lin-Manuel Miranda played the Piragua guy.
  • Although Abuela Alma is considered the antagonist of the film, Encanto has no archetypical villains; the overarching threat for the Madrigal family and the village is the fading of the miracle, and the tensions building up in the Madrigal family, resulting from "passed down intergenerational trauma."[19]
    • Alma is also one of the few examples of a Disney antagonist who isn't actually a villain, as she always meant well and her motivation was to protect the miracle that had been granted to her family, she just had to acknowledge that she was the cause of the magic being endangered in the first place.
  • According to Julieta, she has been hard to Mirabel ever since she did not get a gift, and the novelization of the movie states that she hasn't even hugged her since, until when they reconciled in "Dos Oruguitas" after a heart-to-heart conversation with her.
  • An iconic moment in the film was her saying "The magic is strong! And so are the drinks!" Though unbeknownst to her and the rest of the family, except Luisa, the house began to crack and the magic began to waver.
  • Alma wears a black shawl. This shows that she is in mourning for her husband Pedro. After revisiting the site of his death in years and making amends with Mirabel, she no longer wears it when she apologizes to her family in "All of You", displaying she has made peace with his passing and ready to move on.
  • While not much focus is given to Alma's room, it is supposed to be an exact recreation of her old home.[20]
  • A popular theory why Isabela is Alma's favorite says that, in addition to being the firstborn grandchild of the Madrigals, Isabela is also the one who most strikingly resembles Alma when she was younger. This physical resemblance makes she see herself in Isabela and reminding Abuela of her trauma, which is why she has such high expectations for Isabela's future.[21]
  • According to Jared Bush, although there are other elders in the town who are respected and have important roles, Alma, being the founder, is the most authoritative figure in the Encanto and the one who directs all things that happen in the town.[22]
  • Animators Jackie Koehler and Andrew Ford worked on the scene in which Alma and Pedro meet. This is ironic since the two animators are also a married couple in real life.[23]
    • The two animators who did the reference footage for Alma and Pedro's wedding during the "Dos Oruguitas" sequence are also a married couple.[24]
    • There is also a The Lion King easter egg in the montage where Alma and Pedro meet as well. Animation supervisor David Stodolny revealed that the two were actually talking about Simba and Mufasa during this moment.[25]
  • Alma is one of five characters to be voiced by the same actor in multiple versions of the film, the others being: Julieta, Pepa, Félix and Mariano Guzmán, as María Cecilia Botero voiced Alma in the English and Latin American Spanish dubs of the movie.
  • In a podcast, Jared Bush points out that due to the heartbreak and fear that Alma experienced at the riverside after seeing her husband murdered, once she learned of Bruno's powers, she would have found it impossible to resist pressuring him to frequently look into the future for threats and dangers to the Encanto. Thus, the observations that have been made about Bruno having a depressed attitude which led to him seeing bad futures is wrong. It's the opposite, pressure on Bruno to always look for the worst the future has to offer is what left him with a stressed, forlorn attitude.[26]
  • Although not explained, the possible reason Alma's door says Abuela and not her name is because, like the rest of the family, she is playing a role in the family. Just as her descendants are defined primarily by their gifts, she defines herself as "Abuela" the ideal matriarch with all the answers, while hiding "Alma" the woman suffering from grief and constant fear of losing everything again.
  • According to Jared Bush, before the Casa Madrigal fell and she realized her past mistakes, Alma would've had some issues with Dolores and Mariano's romance because of her desire for the man to marry Isabela. But after she reconciles with her family and they all come together to rebuild the house, Alma has no problems with their union and is happy for them.[27]
  • Alma's role is similar to Imelda's in Coco.
    • They are Hispanic characters, though Imelda is Mexican while Alma a Colombian.
    • Both of them raised their families that grew into a multigenerational household alone after losing their husbands. Alma mourns the death of Pedro, who is killed by soldiers, so much that it causes her to pressure her family to maintain their magic and ensure they don't lose their home again just like how Imelda bans music from her family and home out of heartbreak from her husband Héctor abandoning her and their daughter for his musician career and fear that music could cause another to lose sight of their family.
    • They raised their children strictly and indirectly put pressure on their grandchildren. Alma keeps a tight grip on her children so that they are perfect and caused her grandchildren to grow up with great insecurities trying to meet her expectations while Imelda forbade music and mentioning Héctor despite Coco's love for both and years later, this provoked her granddaughter Elena to continue the taboo on music years after her death.
    • Both pass part of their personalities to their relatives, which caused the latter to have friction with some relatives. Like Alma, her daughter Pepa has a need for perfection, while her granddaughter Isabela was initially aloof and would be unpleasant with some of the other grandchildren due to the pressure placed on her. On Imelda's side, her granddaughter Victoria is a stoic and stern woman, while Elena is determined and assertive, which can present a problem when her stubbornness stops her from listening and causes emotional harm.
    • Both were abandoned by a relative (Héctor and Bruno) whose departure left them heartbroken but also caused the opinion of this relative to become bitter to the point of thinking that he did not care about their family and prohibited the mention of his name.
    • Their obstinate, controlling behaviors caused them to have a rocky relationship with a young family member who couldn't conform to their rules and call out the hypocrisy and selfishness in their ideals in an emotional argument. Miguel remarks how Imelda contradicts her insistence on supporting family by insisting he give up music, something he loves, rather than support him and making their family adopt her views whereas Mirabel, when accused of hurting their family, points out Alma's expectations of relatives and seeing them for their gifts rather than as themselves are what's actually harming the family and causing the magic to fade.
    • After they confront their tragic past and make peace with it, they also forsake the strict household rules, enabling them to reconcile with the family members with whom they previously had complicated or distant relationships with and truly provide the better life they want for their family.
  • According to Jared Bush, in early versions of the film it would be revealed that Alma had strict parents. This would help explain her perfectionist and controlling personality in the present.[28]
  • Alma loves all of her grandchildren, but at times her expectations made it difficult to properly show it, which made that love feel conditional.[29]
  • If one looks closely, it is shown that Alma, even years after Pedro's death, never took off her wedding ring.
  • The secluded nature of the Encanto, in addition to protecting the town, can also symbolize the walls around Alma's heart. The mountains sprung up immediately after her husband's death and she drowned in grief that through the years she would started keeping everyone at a distance. When the miracle vanishes and the mountain splits into a pass, Alma's shell has finally cracked, and she can't hide from her past.

References

  1. "Triplets' Birth Order". Twitter (December 8, 2021).
  2. Bush, Jared (December 8, 2021). "Pedro's info". Twitter.
  3. Bush, Jared (February 5, 2022). "Pedro's death & Triplets' birthday Part 1". Twitter.
  4. Bush, Jared (March 18, 2022). "Pedro's death & Triplets' birthday Part 2". Twitter.
  5. Bush, Jared (March 18, 2022). "Pedro's death & Triplets' birthday Part 3". Twitter.
  6. Bush, Jared (December 28, 2021). "Alma, Félix and Agustín". Twitter.
  7. Lee, Michael (September 9, 2021). "How the Magical Casita in ‘Encanto’ is a New Kind of Disney Castle". The Nerds Of Color.
  8. Team, D23 (November 16, 2021). "“Encanto” Character Details Revealed". D23.
  9. Brown, Tracy (November 24, 2021). "‘Encanto’ is Disney’s first Latino musical. How the filmmakers got Colombia right". LATimes.
  10. The Art of Encanto
  11. Busch, Jenna (November 8, 2021). "Encanto Movie Cast & Crew on the New Disney Film". VitalThrills.
  12. Bush, Jared (December 28, 2022). "Alma's complicated Love for her Family". Twitter.
  13. Sharpe, Josh (December 9, 2020). "Exclusive: New Details for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ ‘Encanto’". The Disinsider.
  14. Manuel, Lin (January 30, 2022). "Alma Original Name". Twitter.
  15. Bush, Jared (February 5, 2022). "Birth of the Triplets Part 1". Twitter.
  16. Bush, Jared (February 5, 2022). "Birth of the Triplets Part 2". Twitter.
  17. Manuel, Lin (January 30, 2022). "Abuela's entrance". Twitter.
  18. Manuel, Lin (January 30, 2022). "Dos Oruguitas". Twitter.
  19. "Byron Howard, Jared Bush, & Charise Castro Smith Interview: Encanto". ScreenRant.
  20. Bush, Jared (January 12, 2022). "Alma's bedroom". Twitter.
  21. Courtney, Mason (January 11, 2022). "Why Isabela is Abuela's Favorite". Screen Rant.
  22. Bush, Jared (October 17, 2022). "Alma The Founder". Twitter.
  23. Animation, Disney (January 30, 2022). "Alma and Pedro Meet". Twitter.
  24. Stodolny, David (January 25, 2022). "Alma and Pedro's Wedding". Twitter.
  25. Stodolny, David (January 27, 2022). "Easter Egg". Twitter.
  26. Bush, Jared (March 11, 2022). "Alma and Bruno". Theqandapodcast.
  27. Bush, Jared (December 28, 2022). "Abuela Changed". Twitter.
  28. Bush, Jared (May 21, 2023). "Alma's Parents". Twitter.
  29. Bush, Jared (May 21, 2023). "Alma and her grandchildren". Twitter.


External links


v - e - d
Encanto movie logo
Media
Encanto (soundtrack/video) • The Art of EncantoEncanto at the Hollywood BowlDisney's Karaoke Series: Encanto
Disney Parks
Disney Animation BuildingThe Tropical Americas

Entertainment: ¡Celebración Encanto!Fantasmic!When You Wish
Parades: A Million Splashes of ColourDisney Adventure Friends CavalcadeMain Street Electrical Parade
Fireworks: Happily Ever AfterWorld of Color: OneWondrous Journeys

Characters
Encanto: Mirabel MadrigalAlma MadrigalBruno MadrigalIsabela MadrigalLuisa MadrigalDolores MadrigalCamilo MadrigalAntonio MadrigalPepa MadrigalJulieta MadrigalFélix MadrigalAgustín MadrigalPedro MadrigalMariano GuzmánPicoCerberusSeñora GuzmánOsvaldoChispiParceTown KidsSoldiersVillage DonkeysAntonio Madrigal's AnimalsBruno's RatsMiracle ButterfliesSeñora OzmaOld ArturoTiple MaestroSeñor RendonSeñor FloresLiliJosé
Deleted: Zoe MadrigalFuega MadrigalJosé MadrigalAmelia and Sofía MadrigalMiranda MadrigalPrincesa MadrigalBubo Marquez
Locations
ColombiaSouth AmericaEncantoCasa MadrigalAlma's Village
Songs
The Family MadrigalColombia, Mi EncantoWaiting on a MiracleEn Barranquilla Me QuedoSurface PressureWe Don't Talk About BrunoWhat Else Can I Do?Dos OruguitasAll of You
See also
The MadrigalsMiracle Candle
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